June 28, 2022

For Immediate Release


Sean Manning

- [email protected]

States Newsroom Launches Indiana Capital Chronicle To Provide Unbiased, Nonpartisan State Government Reporting

New Indiana outlet comes shortly after Pew Research Center identified States Newsroom as a key bulwark against the decline in full-time statehouse reporters

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Today, States Newsroom, the nation’s leading network of state-based nonprofit news outlets, launched the Indiana Capital Chronicle to provide free, high-quality, non-partisan reporting with editorial independence on the crucial issues affecting the Hoosier State. The Indiana Capital Chronicle is States Newsroom’s 28th outlet in its network.

The newsroom is led by Niki Kelly who has covered Indiana government since 1999, spanning the administrations of five governors. She has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists and Hoosier State Press Association for stories on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, criminal justice issues and more. She also is a regular on Indiana Week in Review, a weekly public television news program.

Additional members of the Indiana Capital Chronicle newsroom include:

Whitney Downard, Senior Reporter: A native of upstate New York, Whitney covered statehouse politics for three years for CNHI’s nine Indiana papers, focusing on long-term, health and local government. Previously, she worked as the general assignment reporter for The Meridian Star in Meridian, Mississippi. Whitney is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, a community theater enthusiast and cat mom.

Casey Smith, Reporter: Casey Smith previously reported on the Indiana Legislature for The Associated Press. Smith has had internships and fellowships at the Investigative Program in Berkeley, California, The Indianapolis Star, the Investigative Reporting Workshop in Washington, D.C., The Washington Post, National Geographic, USA Today and other publications. Internationally, she has reported on water quality across South America. She holds a master’s degree in investigative reporting and narrative science writing from the University of California/Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She previously earned degrees in journalism, anthropology and Spanish from Ball State University, where she now serves as an instructor of journalism.

Leslie Bonilla Muñiz, Reporter: Bonilla joins the Indiana Capital Chronicle after covering city government and urban affairs for the Indianapolis Business Journal for more than a year. She graduated from Northwestern University in March 2021, and has reported for the Chicago Tribune, Voice of America and student publications in Evanston, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and Doha, Qatar.

“We’re thrilled that this team of dedicated journalists will bring free, fact-based reporting to all Hoosiers,” said Chris Fitzsimon, Director and Publisher of States Newsroom. “America’s biggest and most consequential political battles are happening in state houses across the country, but after decades of downsizing at legacy media outlets, there are fewer reporters to cover the ins and outs of state government. The Indiana Capital Chronicle will help bolster the Hoosier State’s press corps and ensure that the important stories coming out of Indianapolis are getting the coverage they deserve.”

The launch of the Indiana Capital Chronicle launch comes shortly after Pew Research Center cited States Newsroom and other nonprofit newsrooms as key to filling the void in statehouse coverage left by staffing cuts at legacy media outlets. According to Pew, the overall percentage of reporters working for nonprofit newsrooms in the statehouse press corps has more than tripled since 2014 and now makes up the largest portion of statehouse reporters in 10 states and the second largest in 17 states.

Last year, States Newsroom announced major plans to expand its footprint to have independent newsrooms in roughly 40 states and launched News from the States, a comprehensive source for statehouse news across the country. States Newsroom is set to continue to expand this year in Arkansas, South Carolina, and South Dakota. Recently, States Newsroom launched new content sharing partnerships with eight independent nonprofit outlets, including the Texas Tribune, to host their reporting on News from the States.

States Newsroom, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is funded by the generous contributions of readers and philanthropists. States Newsroom is committed to supporting fact-based, non-partisan news to the public at no cost and ad-free.

Other States Newsroom affiliates and partners are:

Alaska Beacon –
Arizona Mirror –
Colorado Newsline –
Florida Phoenix –
Georgia Recorder –
Idaho Capital Sun –
Iowa Capital Dispatch –
Kansas Reflector –
Louisiana Illuminator –
Maine Beacon –
Maryland Matters –
Michigan Advance –
Minnesota Reformer –
Missouri Independent –
Daily Montanan –
Nebraska Examiner –
Nevada Current –
New Hampshire Bulletin –
New Jersey Monitor –
Source New Mexico –
NC Policy Watch –
Ohio Capital Journal –
Oregon Capital Chronicle –
Pennsylvania Capital-Star –
Tennessee Lookout –
Virginia Mercury –
Wisconsin Examiner –

In addition to its network of 28 state-based outlets, States Newsroom has content sharing agreements with eight leading nonprofit newsrooms: CommonWealth (Massachusetts), Connecticut Mirror, Honolulu Civil Beat (Hawaii), Mountain State Spotlight (West Virginia), Mississippi Today, Texas Tribune, VTDigger (Vermont), and WyoFile (Wyoming).